In operant conditioning, a reinforcement (by reward) or instead a punishment is given after a given behavior, changing the frequency and/or form of that behavior. Stimulus present when the behavior/consequence occurs come to control these behavior modifications.

Observational learning is learning that occurs through observing the behavior of others. It is a form of social learning which takes various forms, based on various processes. In humans, this form of learning seems to not need reinforcement to occur, but instead, requires a social model such as a parent, sibling, friend, or teacher with surroundings.

Imprinting is a kind of learning occurring at a particular life stage that is rapid and apparently independent of the consequences of behavior. In filial imprinting, young animals, particularly birds, form an association with another individual or in some cases, an object, that they respond to as they would to a parent. In 1935, the Austrian Zoologist Konrad Lorenz discovered that certain birds follow and form a bond if the object makes sounds.

Nonformal learning is organized learning outside the formal learning system. For example, learning by coming together with people with similar interests and exchanging viewpoints, in clubs or in (international) youth organizations, workshops.

The educational system may use a combination of formal, informal, and nonformal learning methods. The UN and EU recognize these different forms of learning (cf. links below). In some schools, students can get points that count in the formal-learning systems if they get work done in informal-learning circuits. They may be given time to assist international youth workshops and training courses, on the condition they prepare, contribute, share, and can prove this offered valuable new insight, helped to acquire new skills, a place to get experience in organizing, teaching, etc.

To learn a skill, such as solving a Rubik's Cube quickly, several factors come into play at once:

In incidental teaching learning is not planned by the instructor or the student, it occurs as a byproduct of another activity — an experience, observation, self-reflection, interaction, unique event (e.g. in response to incidents/accidents), or common routine task. This learning happens in addition to or apart from the instructor's plans and the student's expectations. An example of incidental teaching is when the instructor places a train set on top of a cabinet. If the child points or walks towards the cabinet, the instructor prompts the student to say "train." Once the student says "train," he gets access to the train set.

Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, concerns the construction and study of systems that can learn from data. For example, a machine learning system could be trained on email messages to learn to distinguish between spam and non-spam messages. Most of the Machine Learning models are based on probabilistic theories where each input (e.g. an image ) is associated with a probability to become the desired output.